Friday 17 November 2017

'Their attitude would change if they lost a child of their own' - Parents of tragic Ciaran (4) slam rural TDs over drink-drive limit

Gillian Treacy and son Ciarán, who was killed by a drunk driver
Gillian Treacy and son Ciarán, who was killed by a drunk driver

Conor Feehan and Eoghan MacConnell

The parents of a young boy who was killed by a drunk driver have criticised TDs who said they would oppose new road safety rules.

Ciarán Treacy (4) died after the head-on collision at Ballymorris, Portarlington, Co Laois, on April 17, 2014.

His mother Gillian suffered severe injuries in the collision and continues to receive treatment. The driver of the other car had consumed between eight and 10 pints of cider prior to the crash.

Along with her husband Ronan and children Caoimhe and Sean, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, Gillian featured in a powerful media campaign over Christmas. Transport Minister Shane Ross plans to reduce the legal blood alcohol level from 50mg to 20mg. He has put forward several reforms to improve road safety, including reducing the legal blood alcohol limit.

However, some TDs have described this as "devastating" for rural communities.

Independent Galway East TD Sean Canney was critical of how the reforms would be carried out and said existing laws needed to be enforced.

Kerry South TD Michael Healy-Rae also raised questions about the plans.

"You could reduce the limit tomorrow to zero and who can say that would save one more life?

"I would honestly believe that it wouldn't," said Mr Healy-Rae in relation to Mr Ross's latest ideas.

But Ciarán's father Ronan said that TDs who were considering opposing the changes should imagine what it was like to lose a child in a road accident.

"Their attitude would change if they lost a child of their own. It would change without a shadow of a doubt," he said.

Asked whether he was surprised that TDs had come out against a tightening of the drink-driving limits, Mr Treacy said: "I'm not surprised.

"Michael Healy-Rae has been on record before about drink-driving laws being strict. He is being totally ludicrous."

Gillian said she was fully supportive of Mr Ross's proposals to reduce drink-driving limits.

"If I had my way it would be zero," Gillian said. "Even one drink, the RSA (Road Safety Authority) were explaining, how much your brain and body relaxes.

"There could never be zero tolerance, but definitely if it is reduced it will put the fear in people that they won't even have one."

She also expressed concern over the number of drivers using mobile phones and driving uninsured, and the recent revelations regarding the number of disqualified drivers on Irish roads. "There is just too much going on," she said.

"The whole traffic laws need to be overhauled, people are getting away with murder from what I am seeing," she said.

Irish Independent

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